American cycling is bursting with fresh talent. The investment into U23 development teams in the past few years has fostered a healthy crop of impressive riders. The goal of most, if not all professional cyclists, is to ride at European elite levels. Who from US elite teams is likely to make it to the European tour in 2013?
Female American riders show particular promise. Megan Guarnier rides for Team TIBCO. She won the 2011 Giro Della Toscana. As Team TICO further their European expansion in 2012, Guarnier, along with fellow TIBCO rider Amanda Miller, is expected to give a strong performance in Europe again next year. Both are part of the USA Olympic Women’s Road Long Team. Guarnier is a sprinter and all-rounder. She came third in the 2012 Ronde van Gelderland. Miller is a climber, time-trialist, and all-rounder. She is only in her third year as a professional cyclist and should continue to build on her solid pro start.
Charlotte-based Robin Farina, who races for NOW and NOVARTIS for MS, is a long shot for Europe in 2013. Farina won the US Women’s Elite Road Race Championship in 2011 and met the automatic nomination criteria for the Olympic Women’s Road Long Team. Though she has what it takes to race on the European circuit, Robin owns Uptown Cycles with Chris Sheehan, and her other commitments may keep her in the US.
California Giant-Specialized rider Stephen Leece has had a busy 2012 season already, competing in the Sea Otter Classic, Cal Poly Classic, Merco Cycling Classic, and Redlands Bicycle Classic, with respectable results. It is clear he is capable of riding at the European elite level, and 2013 may be his year. He moved from the VRC-NOW-Ms Society team in 2011, and has a great career ahead of him.
Another California Giant-Specialized rider who may make it to Europe in 2013 is Nathaniel Wilson. Though only 21, he shows good time trial potential. He finished ninth in the Boulder Roubaix Road Race, and is consistently improving.
Jesse Anthony, now with Team Optum Presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, has the potential to compete at a European elite level. His 2011 and 2012 performances show continual improvement, including taking second place in the Tour of the Battenkill Pro Invitational this month.
Young riders to watch include Alister Ratcliff, who is 24 and rides for Chipotle-First Solar Development. He has had a strong start to his 2012 season, particularly in the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in February. If he continues to do well, he is likely to move into Garmin-Barracuda’s team and race at an elite level in Europe in 2013. He faces competition from his teammate, Robert Bush. Though Bush has had a slow start to 2012, his impressive 2011 performance, particularly in the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo event, makes him a promising European contender in 2013.
BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team rider Ty Magner won the 2012 Tour of the Bahamas. He also performed well at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, and the Rutas de America 2012 in Uruguay. If he continues at the same pace, then Europe in 2013 is definitely in the cards.